Web standards are a set of best practices for building websites. Just like there are standards for building solid, long-lasting houses, there are standards for building websites so they are more stable and viable for the future.
A site built with web standards is a sound investment and will add value to a business, increasing its longevity and sustainability.
Standards-based sites are faster and more search engine friendly. They also are more scaleable, more accessible to those with disabilities and render more consistently across browsers.
Benefits of web standards
Standards code is written to last. It accounts for future possible web technologies while keeping in mind older browser quirks. Well-written code serves as a solid foundation for scaling up your site when it grows along with your traffic.
It’s easier to read and maintain standards-based code and this makes updates quicker. If you decide to change your web developer, the new developer will be able to understand standards-based, well-written and commented code much faster. All of this means paying less for web maintenance and future updates.
Search Engine Friendly
Standards code is clean code and allows search engines to focus on the the content. Search engines don’t like errors in the code. Too many and they will give up indexing a site. While validating code is one tool to use to see if a site is on the right track, it’s not the only barometer. There are times when invalid code is a trade-off for fixing a cross-browser compatibility concern or implementing a progressive design technique such as CSS3.
What is good for search engines is good for user accessibility. Making sites accessible to impaired visitors widens your audience. It also keeps sites inline with government accessibility guidelines.
By separating the HTML and CSS we can use the same HTML to create different style sheets for different formats including screen, print and mobile. This separation also allows the look of the site to be updated without having to change the structure.
How to choose a company
There are many guidelines and techniques to follow when creating standards-based websites. The checklists can be lengthy and technical. Separating the content, presentation and behaviour layers of a web page is just one web standards strategy, but it may be the biggest. It affects every aspect of the site and thus, the payoff is big.
When hiring a company to create your website, make sure they are following this standard.
For more information on web standards, visit the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The W3C are an international community that develops standards to ensure the long-term growth of the web.